Do you wish you could bake like Mary Berry or whip up a storm in the kitchen like Nigella Lawson? Or fancy yourself as next year's star baker?
I am most definitely a savoury chief. I'm quite at home with a fridge full of ingredients and being asked to create something from scratch. But when it comes to cake baking I enjoy the process, but am afraid to say that the end result is usually disappointing.
Baking cakes for me is relaxing but my cakes either don't rise, rise too much or sink in the middle.
So when Maria from Bake with Maria asked if I would like to road test one of their courses I dusted off the apron and was more than willing to give it a go.
The lovely ladies at Bake with Maria have lots of wonderful courses to choose from, most of which are delivered in their beautiful Baking Lab in St. John's Wood. After much deliberating over the courses they have on offer I opted for the "Introduction to Cake Baking Class"* with Marianne Stewart. Marianne specialities are cakes, pastries and sugar decorations.
The class itself had only eight people which was the perfect size for learning and having help if at any stage you got lost.
On the menu for making:
Marianne had a great way of teaching, she would walk us through the recipe first, giving us a demonstration at each stage of the whole process and was incredibly patient. The class would then be let loose baking in pairs with plenty of ingredients to make enough cakes for you both.
For me the chocolate brownies were the best, lovely, moist and gooey. Fancy making them at home? Have a go yourself!
So here goes:
1. Pre-Heat the oven to 155 Celsius (fan setting) and grease line 2 small loaf tins, or 1 square tin (approx 8"x 8") with non-stick baking parchment. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside. I personally prefer the throw away tins that are pre-greased as these look nicer for serving and giving as gifts.
2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan with the salt. Turn the heat down low and add the sugar, stirring with a balloon whisk. Turn the heat off but keep the saucepan on the hob and add the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt through and then stir to mix with a balloon whisk.
3. Transfer the mix to a mixing bowl, then add the eggs, one at a time, and stir vigorously into the mixture with a balloon whisk. Add the sifted flour and cocoa powder and stir again to combine.
4. Mix the vanilla, alcohol and coffee and add this to the mixture, stirring through gently before folding in almost all of the hazelnuts, reserving a handful for the top.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling off the top with a spoon or spatula, and randomly scatter the remaining hazelnuts on top.
I was kindly a guest of Bake with Maria and supplied the brownie recipe. I had a wonderful time and I am really looking forward to putting my new found skills to the test in my own kitchen.
I really enjoyed the class and their emphasis to teach you the skills and techniques based on years of experience, enabling you to bake on your own. Best of all you get to take all of your creations home. Yum!Yum!
The Baking Lab
81 Loudoun Road
81 Loudoun Road